Category Archives: A Case for Christianity

Defending Your Faith 101: The Teleological Argument, Part 1

The “Teleological Argument” is an argument for the existence of God based on the design factors we see in and around us. There is a definite “fine tuning” of constants in our Universe that must be balanced at levels as thin as a razor’s edge, otherwise life as we know it would not exist. However, these factors are never discussed in public education as being design factors because the idea of an “intelligent designer” is off the table, deemed as a religious concept, even though there is solid scientific evidence to support it.

Public school curriculum is based on secular humanism and evolutionary philosophy, not science. Evolutionary philosophy is founded on presuppositions that accept only evidence that fits the evolutionary philosophical model. Students in our public schools and universities are given selected information that supports the established teaching of evolution and its philosophical premises and are not given, nor are they allowed to evaluate, any evidence that points towards the possibility of an intelligently designed creation, yet they use the word “design” in their narratives.

For example, a high school anatomy class was watching an educational video, produced by an esteemed science curriculum contributor, on ‘The Anatomy And Mechanics of The Human Hand.’ In an excited voice the Narrator exclaimed, “This is evolution’s grandest design.”  It was astonishing that he not only assumed it to be fact that our hands had evolved, but he held the belief that evolution has the ability to ‘design’ something.

How can a random process like evolution, that is non-living and non-thinking, be praised for its design? Isn’t design an intelligent action that has intention and purpose? The problem with secular education is the complete rejection of any evidence that points to anything other than Darwinian mechanisms (evolution) for the origin and design of life.

THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (an argument from design)

Premise #1:

Whatever has the appearance of design must have a designer. For example, a building must have a builder, a painting or sculpture must have an artist, and a computer must have a programmer.

*Premise #2:

The Universe has the appearance of design. Mathematics, engineering, physics and biochemistry are all elements with evidence of design.

Premise #3:

Therefore, the Universe has a designer.

*Evidence for Premise #2

Evidence #1: Design in Mathematics

Mathematics provides hard evidence of a common design across the known Universe. All laws and mechanisms that control the physical elements that are in place to sustain life are undeniably tied to mathematics in one form or another. An example of this is found in “the Fibonacci Sequence.”

Fibonacci Sequence:

The first two numbers in this sequence are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.

(0+1=1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3; 2+3=5 and so on…)

  • Each subsequent number is found by adding up the two numbers before it.
  • As seen, the 2 is found by adding the two numbers before it (1+1)
  • Similarly, the 3 is found by adding the two numbers before it (1+2)
  • And the 5 is (2+3)… at the end of that list 21+34=55, and so on into infinity!

We can find examples of the Fibonacci sequence in nature and humans use this sequence in engineering designs (modeling our ‘Creator Father’):

The Fibonacci sequence in Golden Spirals:

Golden spirals have Fibonacci numbers in their layers or distances from each other. This is evidenced in things like seashells and in a natural phenomenon like a hurricane. We also find the golden spiral in our own galaxy where the planets are Fibonacci distances apart (except the earth), and in plants and flowers where pedal measurements equal Fibonacci sequences.

The Fibonacci sequence in the Golden Rectangle:

Humans in architecture, art and the design of logos use the golden rectangle. AND, we find our Great Creator using His Fibonacci sequence in one of His most important designs, the human body. If you measure the phalangeal bones of the hand, or the leg and arm bones, we find that they are set up in a Fibonacci sequence. This is the best sequential order for optimal performance.

The most amazing part of having this sequence evident in nature is that there is a purpose for them. If these examples were not exactly set in this measurement then they would not exist or perform as they are designed to do. Purpose indicates intention, and intention indicates intelligence.

Evidence #2: Design in Engineering

Example: Bridge design—Warren’s truss: The strongest bridge design developed by humans.

BUT, we find this same bridge design in the wings of a bird. God was way ahead of us, but we are made in His image so this is what we would expect to find!

Evidence #3: Design in Physics

Example: The Fine Tuning of the Universe—The Anthropic Principle

This is one of the most compelling lines of evidence for divine creation, and has persuaded even ardent atheists like Anthony Flew and Patrick Glenn to become theists.

All the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common – these are precisely the values you need if you want a universe capable of producing life.

Anthropic Constants: There are over 100 very narrowly defined constants for life to exist, if any one of these constants was off by a percent of a billionth there could be no biologically based life on earth or anywhere in the universe for example…

  1. Oxygen level:

21% of the atmosphere is oxygen, if it was at 25% – fires would erupt spontaneously, if it was at 15% – human beings would suffocate.

  1. Moon-Earth gravitational interaction:

If the gravitational pull were a few degrees greater then tidal effect on the oceans would be too severe, if less, orbital changes would cause climatic instabilities, in either event life would be impossible.

  1. Carbon dioxide level:

If sustained at a higher level a runaway greenhouse effect would develop and we would all burn up, if lower, plants would not be able to maintain efficient photosynthesis and we would all suffocate.

  1. Strong and weak nuclear force:

If at a greater or weaker force then elements could never form and the atom could not hold together.

  1. Gravitational force:

If altered by 0.37 of 1 percent our sun would not exist and neither would we.

  1. Centrifugal force:

If the force of planetary movements did not precisely balance the gravitational forces, nothing could be held in orbit around the sun.

  1. Expansion rate of the universe:

If at a rate one-millionth slower expansion would have stopped and the universe would have collapsed on itself before any stars had formed, if faster then no galaxies would have ever formed.

  1. Atmospheric water vapor levels:

If greater a runaway greenhouse effect would cause temperatures to rise too high for human life, if less an insufficient greenhouse effect would make the earth too cold to support human life.

  1. Jupiter’s orbit related to its protection for Earth:

If Jupiter were not in its current orbit the Earth would be bombarded with space material—Jupiter’s gravitational field acts as a cosmic vacuum cleaner, attracting asteroids and comets that might otherwise strike the Earth.

  1. The thickness of the Earth’s crust:

If thicker too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust therefore not enough left to support life, if thinner volcanic and tectonic activity would make life impossible.

  1. Earth’s rotational speed:

If the rotation of the Earth took longer than 24 hours temperature differences would be too great between night and day, if shorter than 24 hours atmospheric wind velocities would be too great to sustain life.

  1. Earth’s axial tilt:

The 23-degree tilt is just right, if altered slightly the surface temperatures would become too extreme to support life.

Watch this short clip on the fine tuning of the Universe, from Dr. William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith series:

Concerning the fine tuning of the Universe and the Anthropic Principle, Dr. David D. Deutsch, Institute of Mathematics at Oxford University has said:  If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all.”

“The unexpected, counterintuitive, and stunningly precise setting of the cosmological constant is widely regarded as the single greatest problem facing physics and cosmology today. There is no way we can really comprehend it. This fine-tuning has conservatively been estimated to be at least one part in a hundred million billion, billion, billion, billion, billion—that would be a ten followed by 53 zeroes. That’s inconceivable precise.” -Dr. Robin Collins, Mathematics, Philosophy and Physics professor

Collins also put it another way to illustrate this extreme mathematical improbability:

Let’s say you were way out in space and were going to throw a dart at random toward the Earth. It would be like successfully hitting a bull’s eye that’s one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter. That’s less than the size of one solitary atom.

This amazing fact of fine-tuning can also be illustrated by imagining a large control panel with a hundred different dials that have been carefully calibrated to just the right setting to allow for life to exist on our planet out of all the places in the universe. If any one of them were off by an infantile fraction there would be no life.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.  –Psalm 19:1-4

Going Deeper:

To get a full treatment of the arguments for an intelligent Creator watch Lee Strobel’s “The Case for A Creator.”


Reflection:

  1. What are the three premises for the Teleological Argument?
  2. Write out at least two examples that support this argument that you can commit to memory.
  3. Prayer focus: God’s creative design found in nature

Join us next week for Part 2, the teleological evidence from inside our own bodies (biochemistry)!

Please continue to pray for God’s peace and comfort that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:4-7) for Nabeel Qureshi’s family, and the continued ministry of his wife Michelle, especially during the holiday season which can be especially tough at times like these. In God’s will and Jesus’ Name always we pray, Amen.

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You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!  Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

TeriDugan@truthfaithandreason.com

1 Peter 3:15

 

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